Looking for a place to fish this month? Try one of these:
1. Trolling for crappie at Lake Washington: One of the worst-kept fishing secrets in Mississippi is the big crappie in this old oxbow lake near Glen Allen in southern Washington County. For several years, it has made about every Top 20 list of the country’s best crappie hot spots, but it is unlikely that first-time anglers here know the best September pattern — trolling shallow in deep water. It’s true. Some of the best and biggest fish are caught within the first 4 feet of water in the heat of the day. Another hint, tip your jigs with a minnow. The fish may be plentiful, but they are picky.
2. Catfish, Barnett Reservoir: There’s never a bad time on this lake for jugging, trot-lining and casting for catfish, but one of the best months is September. The long, hot summer has pushed the blues and channels to the edge of deep flats. Dead-sticking cut bait, prepared bait or night crawlers will work on rods and reels in 8 to 12 feet of water as long as you are in casting range of a drop to deeper water. In legal areas, free-floating devices (aka jugs) will be productive between 2 and 10 feet deep 24 hours a day. Trot-liners do best upriver or in the deeper timber of the upper main lake.
3. Bluegill, Tippah County Lake: Think the bluegill and even redear fishing is over when the fish stop spawning on the shallow beds? Not at this MDWFP lake near Ripley in North Mississippi. Think deep, and then think deeper. Some of the biggest bream caught at this lake are caught late in the summer and into the fall with long casts from boats or the banks to the bottom in 10 to 12 feet of water. Use big worms and fish with tight lines.
4. Bass, Pickwick Lake: This big lake on the Tennessee River in the northeast corner of the state is the No. 1 destination for late-summer bass action. It helps that fishermen can catch all three black bass species — largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky spotted bass — in quality and quantity. As soon as the shad begin migrating out of the river toward the banks, the action increases. Rock or grass points will both produce, but one secret to big September smallmouths is moving to a rock-bluff bank with a quick vertical fall and paralleling it with a 200 Bandit. Fried Squash and Root Beer are the colors of choice.
5. Redfish in the Sound: This is no secret. Whether you are looking for the big bull redfish to stretch your line, or the gap reds (18 to 30 inches) for the grill, September’s dog days offer some of the best action in the Mississippi Sound, from the Pascagoula River to the Pearl River. The big schools of bulls will be around the barrier islands while the smaller reds will be tearing it up in inshore waters and the marsh.